NSFAS Administrator On Cause of Laptop Delay

NSFAS Administrator Dr Carolissen discusses why NSFAS students have had to wait until the next academic year for their promised laptops. 

After the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions caused higher education institutions to move from face-to-face learning to blended learning which involved a lot of e-learning, many students found themselves in a predicament as they did not have devices for this.

The government took the decision to provide students with laptops and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was meant to provide laptops to students who were unable to afford them. However, some students have been left without devices since April and are only expected to receive them in the next academic year in March 2021. 

NSFAS Administrator Dr Carolissen has said that securing a tender to supply the laptops has been very difficult as all the bidders which NSFAS received at first did not qualify for the tender. This tender was then cancelled and a new laptop tender was advertised. The requirements for the tender was that the company had to be BEE driven, encourage Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development and must show the ability to supply 50 000 laptops. 

The National Association of Manufacturers in Electronic Components (NAMEC) said that the procurement process used by NSFAS lacked transparency and was flawed. They believe that the process denied black-owned businesses the opportunity to participate in a project which would have "altered their economic realities" in the electronics industry. 

Carolissen said that even before the pandemic struck, NSFAS requested that universities make use of the teaching aid allowance to supply students with devices and data. Universities still requested that NSFAS assists with more laptops as more students were now in need of these devices but there has been a delay in providing students with this for the past 7 months. 

Carolissen says that a big step forward for TVET Colleges was that this year was the first that students received laptops and data. 

Many students are hoping to receive their promised laptops in time for the next academic year. 



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